A group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on a visit to Chiangmai yesterday urged the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) concluding its 3-day summit to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) that was finalized on 7 August.
There are, according to them, several advantages for signatory EAOs, as well as the people whose major concern is safety and security.
“For example, if the NCA is signed, there’ll be local monitoring (which is conducted by non-combatant civilians),” said Sai Nyi Nyi Moe, former political prisoner (2005-12) and a leading member of the New Generation Shan State (NGSS). “But if it is not signed, no local monitoring teams can be formed.”
He elaborated further that people’s participation to uphold the ceasefire and work for peace can be guaranteed only after the NCA is signed and not before, due to the government’s condition that only EAOs and people who are associated with them will be exempted from its notorious Unlawful Associations Act.
His colleagues also gave the following rationale for signing:
- Only with the signing, can we have a chance to stop the wheels of militarization driven by the Burmese military, but not now
- The longer we delay the signing, the greater will the suffering of the people. The sooner it is signed, the sooner will their suffering be reduced
- How sure are we of the next government’s commitment to the peace process?
One quoted the well known but rarely cited quotation from the 19th century German politician Otto von Bismarck (1819-1898): Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.
“We all want to move to political dialogue,” Nyi Moe argued, “but to do that, first we need to cross the NCA bridge. It’ll nevertheless be risky business onward, so it will take a lot of guts.”
He also counseled offering what he called an “outlet” for the government if it is also going to make the EAOs’ peace efforts easier.
The CSO visitors were also supportive of the inclusivity principle. “The EAOs that are going to sign and those that are yet to sign should work together. No group should be excluded.”
The statement issued by the summit yesterday affirms the principle of Common Aim, Diverse Actions between EAOs that will sign and those that are yet to.
According to Naypyitaw, the signatory EAOs will be “participants” at the political dialogue process and the non-signatories “observers.”